Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > The Merchant of Venice > Act II, scene I

	[Flourish of cornets. Enter the PRINCE OF MOROCCO
	and his train; PORTIA, NERISSA, and others

MOROCCO: Mislike me not for my complexion,
	The shadow'd livery of the burnish'd sun,
	To whom I am a neighbour and near bred.
	Bring me the fairest creature northward born,
	Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles,
	And let us make incision for your love,
	To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine.
	I tell thee, lady, this aspect of mine
	Hath fear'd the valiant: by my love I swear
	The best-regarded virgins of our clime
	Have loved it too: I would not change this hue,
	Except to steal your thoughts, my gentle queen.

PORTIA: In terms of choice I am not solely led
	By nice direction of a maiden's eyes;
	Besides, the lottery of my destiny
	Bars me the right of voluntary choosing:
	But if my father had not scanted me
	And hedged me by his wit, to yield myself
	His wife who wins me by that means I told you,
	Yourself, renowned prince, then stood as fair
	As any comer I have look'd on yet
	For my affection.

MOROCCO:                   Even for that I thank you:
	Therefore, I pray you, lead me to the caskets
	To try my fortune. By this scimitar
	That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
	That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
	I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
	Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
	Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
	Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
	To win thee, lady. But, alas the while!
	If Hercules and Lichas play at dice
	Which is the better man, the greater throw
	May turn by fortune from the weaker hand:
	So is Alcides beaten by his page;
	And so may I, blind fortune leading me,
	Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
	And die with grieving.

PORTIA: You must take your chance,
	And either not attempt to choose at all
	Or swear before you choose, if you choose wrong
	Never to speak to lady afterward
	In way of marriage: therefore be advised.

MOROCCO: Nor will not. Come, bring me unto my chance.

PORTIA: First, forward to the temple: after dinner
	Your hazard shall be made.

MOROCCO: Good fortune then!
	To make me blest or cursed'st among men.

	[Cornets, and exeunt]


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